Makar Sankranti, also known as Uttarayan or Lohri, is the beginning of the solar year. It marks the transition day for the Sun from Scorpio into Capricorn. In astrology, this is considered the first day the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn.
The Hindus have celebrated this festival since the early times of the religion. The religious documents mention this festival, which marks the end of the winter months and the start of the longer days of spring. The day of Makar Sankranti is delayed by one day every 80 years. This is also the beginning of the solar year.
During this time of year, the Sun is moving toward the northern hemisphere. There are various celebrations that take place during this festival.
The festival is dedicated to the Sun and is celebrated as a day of feasting and festivities. It marks the beginning of the harvest season.
Farmers across the country celebrate Sankranti with a large number of activities. In southern India, the festival is characterized by kite flying.
The Sankranti festival is celebrated throughout India as an opportunity to thank the Sun God.
Makar Sankranti in Maharashtra
In Maharashtra, people exchange khichdi, til and jaggery (til-gud) with each other. During the Sankranti festival, women wear black dresses and exchange gifts, Halwa (tiny sugar balls) ornaments and halwa-based sweets. Bonfires are also a popular tradition on Makar Sankranti.
People exchange til-gud as tokens of goodwill and greet each other with the words “Til gud ghya god god bola” meaning “forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities and resolve to speak sweetly and remain friends”.
I remember during childhood, we used to gorge on the tasty til-gud mixture and ladoos that mom made.